Nearly one in 10 Americans lives in a home with a loaded and unlocked gun, according to a report released by East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research: “Unlocked and Loaded: Guns in the Home and Safety Practices in America.”
In the report, ECU faculty members and report co-authors Dr. Ann Rafferty and Dr. Joseph Lee write, “Firearm violence is a serious public health issue and firearm presence and safe storage are key components.
Survey findings include:
Unlocked and Loaded report
Full news release below
Video 1 – Rafferty
Dr. Ann Rafferty, associate professor, Department of Public Health
Topic: Public’s response regarding presence of firearms in homes
Video 2 – Francia
Dr. Peter Francia, professor and director, Center for Survey Research
Topics: Gun sales and purpose of the Center for Survey Research
Download instructions: To download a video, click play then right-click and select “Download” or “Download As.”
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ECU EXPERTS EXAMINE DATA ON GUN SAFETY, PUBLIC HEALTH
Report finds one in 10 Americans live in a home with a loaded and unlocked gun
“The role of gun use and safety practices in our health as a nation is often lost in debates about the politics of gun control. This is concerning to health researchers given that almost as many Americans died from gunshots in 2016 as died in motor vehicle crashes.” Rafferty is an associate professor of public health at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, and Lee is an assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Performance.
The ECU report asked American gun owners about their safety practices, and 25 percent of those surveyed who own firearms said they have one or more loaded and unlocked firearms in their home. The survey results show no major differences in gun safety practices between those living in rural versus metropolitan areas, nor major differences separating Democrats from Republicans.
The report also produced information regarding firearm safety practices based on mental health and feelings of social isolation and depression. Though respondents who have mental or emotional problems did not show significant difference in gun ownership, if there are firearms in the household, they are 15 percent more likely to have a loaded and unlocked firearm in their home. People who feel isolated are also more likely to live in a house with a loaded and unlocked firearm.
Additional highlights from the report include:
According to the report, an estimated 393 million firearms are owned by civilians in America, but little is known about how many Americans actually follow the basic rules of gun safety and the implications for public health.
The full report, “Unlocked and Loaded: Guns in the Home and Safety Practices in America,” by the ECU Center for Survey Research can be found here.
The report is part of the larger Life, Liberty and Happiness Project, a nationwide survey of more than 1,100 Americans conducted in May and June by the Center for Survey Research at ECU using mail, internet and phone surveys to reach adults across the country. Results are weighted to be representative of the U.S. population.
The project’s purpose is to highlight shared experiences among Americans as well as identify differences.
The initial report on the Life, Liberty, and Happiness survey, released in July, showed that a majority of Americans are satisfied with their lives, that only 23 percent trust the media, and that 1 in 10 adults live in a home with unsecured and loaded firearms. That report is available here.
Contact: Jamie Smith, ECU News Services, 252-328-6481